On December 30 at UFC 207, former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey returns to the Octagon, with a main-event title fight vs. current champion Amanda Nunes. Rousey’s former belt has been a hot potato, going from Rousey to Holly Holm, to Miesha Tate, to Nunes all in eight months.
No one in the sport so intimately knows the relative skills of Rousey and Nunes as does Tate. Rousey took Tate’s strikeforce belt in 2012, and then beat her again the next year in the UFC. Further, Tate lost her belt to Nunes in July.
“I think if Ronda is at her height, I would probably say Ronda,” said Tate. “I always tend to favor grapplers. That’s just my bias. I think it’s more probable for a fight to go to the ground and get finished than it is for a clean knockout. That’s less common in women’s MMA.
“So, if you factor that in, I think Ronda is the stronger grappler.”
“What’s so weird about this fight is all the X factors. Amanda is a really tenacious fighter and I think she’s going to have a newfound confidence coming into this fight.
“I guess what I don’t know is how Ronda is going to show up. I’m pretty confident about what Amanda will show up, but Ronda — it has been such a long time. Ring rust can be a very real thing and how is she going to be as far as being punch-shy? She knows Amanda is heavy-handed and after being cracked by Holly, does that change the mindset of someone like Ronda who kind of believed, along with many others, she was untouchable?
“It’s hard to say who wins this because it kind of depends on what version of Ronda shows up.”
Adding a further degree of complexity to the calculation, during a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneris show, Rousey said of her MMA career that she was “wrapping it up.” The sole thing Nunes is intent upon wrapping up is Rousey’s consciousness.